Tag Archives: toddler

The Tale of the Tiny Tyrant


I’ve never believed the hype about the temper of the red-head. After all, the red-heads in my life (sister, cousin, nieces) are all sweet and nice. Even our eldest, while not exactly the calmest yogi at the meditation retreat, only has flashes in the pan when it comes to anger. I didn’t even really buy into ‘the terrible twos’. Then our littlest red-head turned two and became the Tiny Tyrant.

Now our household faces the ever present fear that at any moment someone might, inexplicably, awaken the banshee-screaming, body clenched and shaking, uncontrollable rage of the little one. You don’t know what you did, you don’t know how to make it better*, all you can do is stay out of the way, while you woefully think,

I’ve angered it again.

*I’d like to note that I made the observation, that just as my husband gets to see what he is like to live with as we endure the endless energy and sound coming from our eldest, that now I get to see what it is like for him to live with me when I am faced with this kind of ‘what did I do, how do I fix it’ issue. However, if stand-up comedy routines are to be believed, I think this is a common condition of marriage and not particular to me.


The Tale of the Predator


The toddler (Homo sapien difficultus) is one of four distinctions of tiny humans in the genus Homo. Second in size to only babies, toddlers can exceed 18kg (39.7 lb) in weight, though their size varies widely. Wild toddlers currently exist on all continents, in all countries. No toddlers have been known to be tamed.

Commonly, the toddler will attach itself to a family unit. Very quickly a co-dependency emerges, each needing the other to survive. Toddlers will exert their dominance early on and establish themselves as the alpha member of the family. The toddler establishes and maintains her dominance through loud cries, posturing (lying  prone on the ground kicking and screaming), and irresistible cuteness. Toddlers are typically found attached to a family as individuals, though sometimes a family will find itself supporting 2 or 3 – and in rare instances even greater numbers (4, 5, even up to 8 have been found on record). Numbers this large can be very disruptive to the delicate family ecosystem, causing significant stress.

Toddlers display an aggressive eating style, leaving feeding sites littered with remains and virtually unrecognizable, so thorough is their destruction. Scavengers by nature, they take over the established living area of a family, claiming everything contained within as their own. They typically mark their territory with scattered toys, books, shoes, clothing, and anything else they find. Though family members may prefer specific areas of the living space for specific activities, the toddler is indiscriminate using any area for any activity (play, feeding, elimination, etc).

The only known predator of the toddler is sleep. Sleep is a silent stalker of the toddler – sometimes taking them suddenly and without warning.  One of the prime places for sleep to stalk is in the family vehicle. Toddlers become entrapped, and with motion are lulled into a Imagelistless state, leaving them defenceless. Within a vehicle sleep may attack quickly (before the vehicle has even left the driveway), or may play a long, slow stalking game (often overcoming the victim mere minutes from home).

When sleep attacks at night, the toddler is often not caught by surprise, and the toddler will resist sleep. Night attacks can be difficult for sleep to obtain their prey as a toddler will “go down fighting”. Toddlers use many defence mechanisms in what are sometimes epic battles between these two adversaries. Diversions, loud cries, flailing movements and sometimes flat out fleeing are the most common tactics of the sleep-resistant toddler. However, sleep is an indiscriminate predator and will go after any and all toddler prey – those who lay down and go quietly, and those who are asking for their fifth freakin’ drink of water at 10:00 at night.